After another week of monitoring high frequency indicators, it's clear there is no steep downturn in economic activity or a panicking consumer. The table above shows the high frequency indicators we've been following, which provide the most up to date information about the economy. From industrial and trade indicators like steel production and rail car traffic, to measures of consumer activity like weekly chain store sales and box office receipts, all have improved from last year and remain stable from week to week. Initial claims have risen recently to 428,000 in the latest weekly reading. However, this is within the range that claims have been in over the past three months. The bottom line is that this level of weekly jobless claims is no where near a recessionary level.
We have been following these high frequency indicators for over a month now, and it is obivous to us that, based on the data, there is no sign of a sharp downturn in the economy. Despite gloom and doom from many pundits and wild swings in equity and bond markets, the economy is doing fine, and will continue to do just fine in the months ahead.